August 11, 2008

Unaccustomed Earth - Jhumpa Lahiri

I have a new favourite author. A big call I know but Unaccustomed Earth has literally amazed me - I want to go back and read it again straight away, I want to tell all my friends about it, I want to work out how I can weave it into my teaching and research (although, on second thoughts I might keep this book purely for pleasure!).

As I have mentioned before I am not a big short story reader. I bought this book to take with me on a work trip to Melbourne a few weeks ago and I knew as soon as I started the first story I would be in love with it. The main characters in each of the stories are of Bengali heritage - they move between worlds and lives set in India and America. They are primarily upper middle class, educated, literate people experiencing the daily moments of most lives - school, family, love, relationships, work, decisions.

The book is structured in two parts with the second part being my favourite. This section contains 3 stories which interlink the lives of two characters, Hema and Kaushik, over the course of their lives from birth through to middle age. I was literally holding my breath as I was reading the final story in this section - the ending was spectacular. I can't say anymore for fear of giving too much away.

All I can say is read this book. I am on the search for Jhumpa Lahiri's other work now.


Anonymous said...

Lahiri's first book, The Interpreter of Maladies had a similar effect on me and I was equally impressed by Unaccustomed Earth. It's always a pleasure to discover a new favourite author!

Anonymous said...

Like adevotedreader, I loved Interpreter of Maladies. She's just a remarkably good writer -- I'm glad you liked Unaccustomed Earth, and thank you for reminding me that now I need to order this!

Andi said...

I really loved Interpreter of Maladies, so it's good to know that this book is just as good! Enjoy her other stuff.

Karen said...

Hi adevotedreader - I have just been blown away by Lahiri's work - buzzing with the impact - always great to discover!
Hi bloglily - Definitely recommend putting Unaccustomed Earth on your to read pile very soon!
Hi andi - I'm on the lookout for The Interpreter of the Maladies today.
Thanks everyone.

Anonymous said...

I must agree with you on this book: it was incredible. I got it from the library and want to buy it so I can read it again and again. I liked Interpreter of Maladies, but I thought Unaccustomed Earth took her skills as a short story writer to a whole new level.

Jill said...

I also usually dislike short stories, but Interpreter of Maladies sucked me in. I also loved The Namesake and reviewed it on my site. I'll have to try this one soon!

Karen said...

Hi Novaren - I completely understand about wanting to buy the book - I don't even want to move my copy to the bookshelf - it's still right beside my bed!
Hi Jill - I will definitely go and check out your review of The Namesake - thanks!

Bee Bee said...

The Interpreter of Maladies was a wonderful book. I am yet to read Unaccustomed earth since there were some not-so-happy feedback from few friends.

You should try out another wonderful book from an Indian author (Anita Nair) called, 'Ladies Coupe'.